By Sports editor Brian Hoffman
High School baseball is back, and no one is happier than the folks at William Byrd. The Terriers were expecting to be state contenders last year when the coronavirus pandemic hit and wiped out their entire 2020 season.
This year, hopes are still high. Byrd will have 11 seniors on the team and a majority of the lineup that enjoyed success as sophomores in 2019. Add some new faces to the mix and it should be a good spring at Walthall Park, even if the season is starting almost two months later than usual.
“After a long layoff we are ready to get back to competing,” said Byrd coach Neil Zimmerman. “We have 11 seniors on this years’ team with a lot of varsity experience. We have a seasoned pitching staff that includes some newcomers to the varsity level.”
Returning varsity pitchers include Tyler Dean, Isaac Fix, Luke Taylor, Tyler Martin, Ethan Tinsley and Seth Hodges, and they all play a position when they’re not on the mound. Joey Johnson will be used in a utility role and can play either infield or outfield. Dylan Hatfield, Hayden Lyle, and James Purcell look to handle the catching responsibilities for the large pitching staff. Hatfield, a Virginia Tech signee, is ready to go after an injury during the spring football season.
Juniors Hunter Sipe, Trenton Sayers, and Ross Divers return. Matthew Scavelli and Ethan Hairston are also juniors who can play multiple positions and add good speed. Hunter Harris will compete in the outfield and Bryson Lutz will compete at first base on a deep and talented roster.
The Terriers will open on Friday with Fix, a Davidson signee, getting the opening day assignment on the mound. It’s a jayvee-varsity doubleheader against Franklin County in Rocky Mount, with the varsity scheduled for around 7 pm.
Next week Byrd is at Lord Botetourt on Tuesday, and the home opener won’t be until Friday, May 14 when Byrd will host William Fleming in a varsity doubleheader.